The London Eye

London.. what can I say about London. Well for a start, it’s a city with a larger population than the country i’m from, the queen lives there and it’s the location of the only Supreme store In the whole of the U.K.. they were a bit random eh.

Anyway, I have been lucky enough to visit London several times when I was younger, however I felt like I had never really got to appreciate London for what it is until I visited it once more this year as an ‘adult’ In this blog I intended to highlight my most memorable parts of the trip, as half the time I was too drunk to remember the rest..

I had decided to go to London on a whim as i had been offered accommodation at a friends family home while they were also staying there. I seen it as a perfect opportunity for two young Scottish guys to size up London and take it all the sights in a few days while having a couple of drinks along the way.. that was my first mistake. For the 5 days i stayed there I realised that although we visited some of the usual sights, the London eye, Saint Paul’s Cathedral, the British museum and Leicester Square among others, London is such a massive place that it would be impossible to visit everything in a few weeks never mind a few days!!

As there is so much to talk about I’ll keep it simple and tell you about my two favourite things during my stay, the first being my now favourite pub in London, the Lyceum Tavern. On my first day there while me and David were familiarising ourselves with Leicester Square and the surrounding areas the sun broke out turning it into a gorgeous warm day. After a few hours of shopping we both agreed it was time for an alcoholic beverage.. but where would we go?

Well.. after walking around turning down various pubs, all of a sudden it was as if we had been given a sign.. the Lyceum Tavern. The sun was hitting directly down at the pub that a few hundred yards away from the famous Lyceum Theatre and two seats outside clinched the deal. As we sat down with our new favourite beer “Taddy lager” we got a real feel for the buzz of London as we sat there, chilled out watching life go by. Hundreds of people at a time, people on the break, tourists, Londoners or whoever else, both me and David really enjoyed a nice beer in the sun chatting about London and how much it had to offer. We enjoyed it so much that we went back a second time and became friendly with the owner, a great guy which is something I can vouch for concerning all Londoners.. they were all friendly chatty people who had a lot of time for us and we appreciated that.

My second favourite thing about London has to be my experience at the Shaftesbury Theatre seeing “Motown, the musical” Now to be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect on my way to this musical. I have never really been a fan of things like this but I was going in with an open mind and thank goodness I did as it was the best live action performance I have ever seen! The musical told the story of how Motown came about, it’s journey at the peak of its success and how it eventually came to a demise. The amount of effort and talent every performer showed was truly amazing and I left London with a new love for that type of music, especially for Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross.

Overall it’s hard to sum up London, especially when in reality I had seen so little of it. However what I can say is that it’s one of the most diverse, interesting and entertaining places I’ve ever visited and no matter what anyone does while they’re there, I bet they have a lot of fun while doing it!

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Falls of Falloch

All of my blog posts so far have been about places foreign to my own country, Scotland, so in this post I thought I’d share a story of when I visited one of Scotland’s lesser known but still popular tourist attraction.. the Falls of Falloch.

Falls of Falloch is situated just north of the famous Loch Lomond in Stirling, Scotland. Recently on a warm summers day in July my friends and I decided to visit this well known waterfall, as we had heard it was a popular to actually jump off the top of the waterfall into the water below.

While driving up we done some research about the waterfall and looked at a lot of images, trying to size it up and wondering if we could in fact jump from the top ourselves. It was clear that the spot had become popular with teens who would go there to drink alcohol and jump into the water for a laugh, however when we arrived there was some kind of training drill going on and when I asked about it I was quite shocked..

It turns out the fire service were carrying out a safety drill. The chief fire office told me that a few months prior to our visit, a few young teens that had been drinking decided to jump off the top of the waterfall, as many others do. However one of the boys didn’t fully commit to the jump and instead fell directly into the space behind the waterfall and the real danger was that there’s a sort of hole that meant the boy was trapped deeper down that he imagined it would go, meaning he couldn’t actually get out from behind the waterfall. Luckily for him the fire service managed to save him, and it’s now a drill they must carry out in case this happens again

However this didn’t stop a few people turning up when the fire service left to jump off the top! My friends and I were quite amazed, especially when one man decided to do a front flip from the top.. now that was brave!

We ended up chatting to the man in both these videos, firstly to congratulate him on jumping and making it look fun, and secondly to ask if he does this often as he was the only one with a wet suit with him. He informed us that him and his friend go all around Scotland to locations like this waterfall to brave the jumps, they love the thrill!

Finally it was our turn! After initially being put off the idea when hearing the story from the fire service, we we all now filled with confidence after seeing several people do it so it was down to our boxers and off we went.. all I can say is that the feeling you have when looking straight down at the water is horrific! I was filled with nerves but the shouts of “3, 2, 1, GO!” Spurred me on to jump and when I landed safely in the water there was a total sense of relief. We all had a great day and what made it even better was that it was a fantastic touristy location in my own country and I can’t wait to go back next summer!!

Christmas in the Lanzarote sun

Christmas is one of, if not the most exciting time of the year, and for as long as I can remember I have spent Christmas with all of my family. A typical Christmas Day starts off with opening my Christmas presents, eating some chocolate and watching movies until it’s time to go to my aunt’s house for a big traditional Christmas dinner.. however the Christmas of 2017 was a vastly different experience and one that I’ll always remember for being the strangest Christmas I’ve experienced yet!

It all started when I found out that one of my friends David would be spending two weeks in Lanzarote during the Christmas period. The thought of sunbathing on Christmas Day was a comical idea and I had joked to him about coming along.. but after we kept mentioning it a few times David actually told me that there would be room for me to stay in the large villa they were renting if I actually did want to go. So after a quick think I booked my flights and jetted out on the 21st of December.

Now, the days leading up to Christmas were unbelievable in terms of how much fun we had and how great the weather was! Everyday the sun was beating down on me, which wasn’t what you’d usually get in Scotland during December but I wasn’t complaining.

For anyone that goes to Lanzarote I would highly recommend going on a boat trip. The boat took us from the main land across to a small island which was quiet but gorgeous. The locals seemed to live a simple life but we’re all so welcoming. The boat then goes out and sits in the middle of the calm sea allowing passengers to jump off the side of the boat, or in my case scuba diving!

This was by far the greatest part of the holiday and something I would recommend everyone to experience at least once in their life. I have always thought that if I ever tried scuba diving that I’d drown or be eaten by a shark! But our instructor was very informative and was great at showing is the basics so that we could swim with the fishes, literally.

I also recorded one of my biggest personal achievements to date while in Lanzarote, hiking up a volcano! Lanzarote has many volcano’s, some of which are still active, and lucky for me while on our boat trip we stopped at a small island with a dormant one which tourists were allowed to hike up.

It took me about 15/20 minutes and I felt like I may have a heart attack at the top, but it was definitely worth it for the stunning views as you can see in the pictures above ^

However, the most bizarre part of this holiday was in fact being there on Christmas. Me and David had went out for a few drinks on Christmas Eve and both woke up with terrible hangovers, so the majority of our Christmas Day was spent laying about on sun loungers next to the poor feeling sorry for ourselves, while occasionally dipping into the pool when it got too warm. That night, due to all the local shops being closed and a lack of preparation on our part we ended up having burgers for dinner.. slightly different from a traditional Christmas one. I think the one thing I learned though on Christmas is that for me, it doesn’t really matter about what you do or what you eat, it’s about family. It was strange not to be surrounded by all my family members catching up and having a laugh, and through this holiday I realised that to me Christmas is about family.. I still wasn’t complaining about being in 30 degree heat though!

Away days in Munich

I have been an avid supporter of Celtic Football Club all my life, I had a season ticket for 5 years and have been lucky enough to experience a handful of away games, including a European away trip to Munich in October of 2017. In this blog I’ll be retelling my horrific experience of how me, my uncle and his friend Kevin managed to get there, as well as how the main plaza in Munich was filled with a sea of green and white shirts for several days, and how a poor Celtic performance left me with a bitter taste on the flight home.

Celtic playing in the champions league each season is always a priority for the fans and I had been lucky enough to experience many famous champions league nights at Celtic park, such as our 2-1 victory against Barcelona when young Tony Watt wrote his name in the history books forever. However I’d never had the chance to travel with Celtic away in Europe until 2017 when my uncle, a long time Celtic fan himself, told me I couldn’t wait any longer to experience my first European away game and booked us tickets for the match against Bayern Munich.

The only problem was that the prices of flights directly to Munich had dramatically increased once it was confirmed that Celtic would be playing there, so instead of forking out the extra cash, my uncle decided we would take an alternative route. This involved a 4 hour flight to the airport in Basel, followed by a 7 hour train to finally get to Munich.. as you can imagine we were crawling up the walls but the assurance that we’d be there soon, as well as a few beers got us through.

We arrived the day before the match was to be played but it was already clear that Munich was being taken over by Celtic supporters.. as we walked into the famous Hofbräuhaus (beer hall) we were greeted by fellow fans, and after several large German steins, they became our friends! It is clear though that the world is a small place as when walking around the plaza I met several of my friends and colleges from back home.. it’s not the first thing you expect when you’re over 1000 miles away, but I was happy to see them on this exciting occasion of course. Supporting a football club is really special as it allows friends, family and strangers to come together in a special unity, this was evident over my full time there as every Celtic fan I met was sure to ask me how I was, where I was from and how much I loved the famous Glasgow Celtic.

Visiting the Allianz Arena was also a very special experience as it is one of the most colourful in Europe, holding an impressive 75,000 seats. The Celtic fans were in great form for the duration of the full match, we never stopped singing despite the crushing 3-0 defeat to Bayern. I could finally understand what my uncle meant when he said ‘going away with Celtic is a truly special experience’ Traveling is an amazing enough experience but to do it with thousands of people who are there for the same reason as you makes it even better. The people of Munich were so welcoming and made so much effort to make our stay as fun and enjoyable as possible.. This trip may have been a once in a lifetime but I hope I can experience another European away game as good as this again.. hopefully with a better score next time! H.H

The little town of Waldkirch

In this blog post I’ll be reflecting on my first two visits to Germany, a 24 hour car journey and how the 5 year gap between visits changed my opinion massively,in this case it involves my uncle John’s current residence, Waldkirch, Germany.

Waldkirch is a small town of around 20,000 people situated in the south of Germany. Around 12 years ago my uncle John bought property there as he had made several friends who lived in that area through his time in the scouts and since he visited that often, he thought he might as well get himself somewhere to stay.

Around 6 years ago now John decided to permanently move to Waldkirch and I think at the time I must have wondered; how will he get his belongings from Scotland to Germany? Well to my surprise, he would drive there, of course! Luckily enough he had just enough room in the passengers seat for me and it was decided that i would go along with him for a holiday. One thing that 14 year old Sean didn’t realise however was that although I was fully aware the journey would last around 24 hours.. it would feel like 48! Nonetheless I can’t complain as John soldiered on driving for as long as he could to get us there as soon as possible. My fondest memory of the drive will always be stopping for a spot of breakfast in a small diner in Luxembourg at around 6am.. the usual breakfast items were available (Toast, cereal etc) but I opted to go for chips!

2012

Now, to be truthful I can’t say that I loved my first visit here, In fact John and his friends were sure to remind me in my visit last year that I had acted as if I hated it! However when I compare my visit 6 years ago to my most recent last year, it made me realise how much I had changed as a person. I was so shy and especially picky with food at 14, the only thing I ate over there was burgers as I was too scared to try new things. Thinking back now it’s quite embarrassing, and just before I visited again last year I was determined to enjoy myself, try new foods and talk to more people.. still in English though as my German isn’t all that.

So In August of 2017 I visited Waldkirch for the second time, and I’m sure John will agree with me that it was totally different this time, in fact I loved it! Throughout my week there we had ‘hiked’ to the top of the local castle ‘Ruine Kastelburg’, attended a local festival in the marktplatz (market square) had an delicious barbecue on the roof of Johns residence that also involved my first whiskey (nasty stuff!)

We also visited the stunning cathedral in the local city of Freiburg! However, if there was one thing i had to do while visiting John again, it would have to be something we’d been trying to plan ever since my first visit 5 years previous.. going to watch the local football team SC Freiburg.

I had developed a support for this team ever since I was made aware that they were a top flight club situated close to where John lived and he had promised me that one day we would go to a match together. Thankfully for us there was a game on during the week that I visited, a pre season friendly against Italian side Torino. This was most definitely my favourite part of the trip as I was getting to finally do something that had been years in the making! The stadium, Schwarzwald – Stadion was a gorgeous 24,000 seated capacity stadium that was surrounded on two sides by mountainous forest known as the Black Forest. It was both a stunning sight and a great game, as Freiburg narrowly lost 2 to 1 on the day.

What I also realised this time round is how much I had changed from my first visit, particularly with how my tastes in food had changed! I think I was just as surprised as John when we realised I had enjoyed every last bite of every meal I had, from a selection of continental meats at the BBQ, fancy Schnitzel, and my new favourite snack, German pretzels!

At the end of the week I left Waldkirch thankful that i had grown up and could finally enjoy it for the great experience it is. I would like to say a massive thank you to John for letting me back after my first visit and I hope we can go back again to see my beloved SC Freiburg again soon!

Boys abroad in Malia

Just before my 18th birthday, I was lucky enough to experience my first holiday abroad with my friends in the town of Malia in Crete, Greece. Nowadays Malia is best known around Europe as a popular holiday resort, particularly for young people who travel there within the ‘season’ that spans from Mid June until the end of August.

Many teens will know of the excitement of a first holiday abroad without family, the sense of adventure mixed with responsibility is very empowering and it was something both me and my friends were looking forward to. We talked for months prior about what kind of memories we may come home with, but anything we thought of wouldn’t prepare us for how immense it actually was!

We had arrived at the perfect time. Our hotel, the Primavera beach hotel, was barely 200 yards away from the beach and to this day it was the most gorgeous beach I’ve ever been on. The sun shone high above the whole beach all day and then set peacefully at night, as the photo above captures. My friends and I shared beers as we watched the sun set, our excitement for the following week heightened.

To this day I still feel very lucky to have spent a week right next to such a gorgeous shoreline. However the best part of these sunny days by the sand was when we all got to go on jet ski’s. This was my first ever time on one and this was obvious as when I had a shot of driving it with my friend David on the back, he nearly flew off at the first corner I turned! I think I enjoyed being a passenger more but it was an exhilarating experience that I’d recommend to anyone!

However what I loved most about my time here was indeed the nightlife that Malia is famous for. Firstly, adapting to how the nightlife worked there was a fun challenge for it is the norm to go out between the hours of 1am-6am. Secondly, the main strip which consists of bars, nightclubs and other attractions gives you almost too much to choose from and lastly, being around hundreds of people all from different countries.

In every nightclub my friends and I went to we met so many new people that were there having as much fun as we were. This added to the whole experience as it then felt like one massive party that everyone was invited to together. This is the main thought that I took away from Malia, places like this need to exist for young people as they provide fun, life changing experiences that allow us to grow up and gain memories that last a lifetime. I’m sure the four German folk I met several times through the course of the week will remember me just as I’ll remember them, without actually knowing anything about them.

Overall I couldn’t have had a better first holiday abroad with my friends. It felt like we had destroyed our livers at the end of the week and the flight home wasn’t something I’ll remember fondly as by that point my body was crying out for a good nights sleep, but it was all worth it. The sense of togetherness I felt with everyone I met there has made me realise why these types of holiday resorts are so popular and I would highly recommend Malia to all!

The Journey Begins

Welcome to my blog, Joined at the trip! This is my first official post and I would just like to take this moment to thank everyone who supports me through this journey. Whenever I get the chance to travel, whether it be around my own country of Scotland or abroad, I really try and take the time to soak it all in and experience as much of the culture as possible, so that hopefully through my own experiences and photography I can portray the world to be as interesting and stunning as it really is.

Over the coming weeks I’ll be blogging about 7 different locations that have meant a lot to me personally, from visiting family in Germany to riding my first jet ski in Greece and even just visiting the famous loch, Loch Lomond in north of Scotland. All of these places have been different in their own right, bringing new sights, challenges, friends and long lasting memories.

Here is my agenda to give you all a small overview of what to expect week to week:

Week 1: Boys abroad in Malia

Week 2: The little town of Waldkirch

Week 3: Away days in Munich

Week 4: Christmas in the Lanzarote sun

Week 5: Falls of Falloch

Week 6: The London eye

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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